Trump is backing away from his own gun control proposals

Trump is walking back his support for upping the age restriction on buying guns, putting him in sync with the NRA

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 27, 2018 9:39AM (EST)


Perhaps at the behest of right-wing pro-gun groups like the NRA, President Donald Trump is backing away from some of the gun control measures for which he had indicated support after last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Seemingly confirming an initial report from CNN that Trump was backing away from raising the minimum age for purchasing rifles to 21, Trump neglected to mention that policy proposal during a White House gathering of America's governors on Monday, according to The Washington Post. Although Trump still came out in favor of "getting rid" of bump stocks and strengthening background checks, he neglected to mention anything about raising the buying age, even though he had previously expressed support for that idea.

"It doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait until you're 21 years old to get a pistol, but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school, you get that at 18," Trump told Fox News on Saturday. "I mean that doesn't make sense, and, frankly, I explained that to the NRA."

Perhaps the NRA did some explaining back to Trump. After all, this is the same president who last week responded to reporters' questions about raising the age limit by insisting, "I don't think I'll be going up against them. ... They're good people. The NRA is ready to do things. People like to blame them."

Trump seemed to reiterate this same defense of the NRA on Monday, albeit without the implication that they would actually "do things" this time around. "Don’t worry about the NRA. They’re on our side," Trump proclaimed on Monday.

Regardless of why Trump's mind may have been swayed since last week, a new poll finds that more Americans than ever support increasing gun control laws. Seventy percent of Americans back tougher gun laws after the Parkland school shooting, according to a CNN-SSRS poll. By contrast, only 52 percent of Americans felt the same way after the Las Vegas shooting in October. This is because Republicans have undergone a significant shift on this issue: While only 30 percent of Republican voters supported stricter gun laws after the events in Las Vegas, that number has increased to 49 percent after the events in Parkland, Florida.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Florida School Shooting Gun-control Nra Parkland School Shooting